Going to the Olympic Trials is an adventure. My adventure included visiting old friends, touring all the impressive facilities at the University of Oregon, and stealing away to Corvallis during the break to visit my brother, Kurt. We were both at the U of O for a while, but he finished up at Oregon State, just up the road.
As an engineer, he just “geeks” over any opportunity to solve a problem. I love to hang with Kurt. He has great ideas and high quality friends, including Trish and Larkin – the amazing and capable ladies who own and operate Soft Star Shoes in Corvallis Oregon. Just imagine four people committed to manufacturing quality shoes and socks, right here in America, having a “group geek” all day over the many related marketing, selling and operational challenges we face. That’s a great day in sunny Oregon!
So here I am, on my adventure in Oregon, where I get to tour a shoe factory. A shoe factory which is – of all things — not in Asia. It was inspiring. I learned about “clicking” which is the process of cutting out a design in leather, and I observed some processes that have not changed much in, well, centuries. It was like watching Geppetto at work in his shop. Everyone there makes a unique contribution to an age old process. The rough hewn log beams and heavy flooring of their turn of the century building offer a warm atmosphere.
Swiftwick shares a customer base, like the minimalist runner, environmentally sensitive consumers looking for companies that reflect their values. Our shared customers are parents who believe they have found the perfect shoe, the toe seam free sock that doesn’t stink... Soft Star connects with people who want a vegan shoe, which got me thinking about how our synthetic socks are vegan too.
Swiftwick made a splash at the trials with our ultra-light, ultra-thin minimalist sock — the PULSE. So many distance runners from the 1500 to greater distances, including the steeple chase, have been giving us their product feedback and support.